Thursday, July 14

Bye-Bye "Big Game" James

Former Sonics center Jerome James signed with the New York Knicks today.

The mass exodus of the 04-05 Miracle Sonics continued today, with Jerome "Big Garbage Bag Game" James signing with the New York Knicks. Well, at least he (unlike Nate) had the common decency to sign with a team on the opposite coast! I just wish he could have waited until I ran the story about his pimped out rides.
James, who played the last four seasons in Seattle, agreed yesterday to a five-year deal with the Knicks, according to his agent. Precise terms will not be set until the league completes its new labor deal. But it was expected that James will earn about $5 million in the first year of the contract, and $29 million over five years.

Before the contract is signed, James will be installed as the starting center, a job he will win by default. The Knicks traded their only true center, Nazr Mohammed, in February, and traded his replacement, Kurt Thomas, in June. The team drafted a center, Channing Frye, but he may not be ready for full-time work as a rookie.

From the New York Times (registration required)
Even though James has been a career under-achiever and often played like a poor-man's Benoit Benjamin, it was fun to see him come alive in the playoffs. J.J. was the heart and soul of last year's team, having "invented" the post-game huddle, and has developed into one of the unique characters in the league, resembling another under-achieving but lovable center, Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins.

Does he deserve $29 million over five years? No. Will he be out of the league, bankrupt, and selling sports drinks out of the back of a van in five years? Probably. But I will always love J.J. for giving us one of the great playoff runs in Sonics history. And for wearing a garbage bag.

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